MANILA (ChurchMilitant.com) - The largely Catholic Philippines has elected a self-professed dictator for president. Rodrigo Duterte, who won the elections Monday, is saying he may dissolve congress and install a revolutionary government.
President-elect Duterte, who goes by the nickname "The Punisher," is on record saying, "I am a dictator? Yes, it is true."
The former Catholic has made headlines by calling Pope Francis "a son of a whore." But he upset even more people when he joked about wishing he'd been the first to rape an Australian woman who was sexually assaulted and murdered in a 1989 prison riot in the Philippines.
According to media reports last month, 71-year-old Duterte is shown in a video recounting the sexual assault and death of Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill at the hands of rioting prison inmates at a Filipino prison. Duterte, a mayor at the time, commented, "They raped all of the women. ... There was this Australian lay minister. ... I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first."
Even though Duterte was elected president, the public outrage over this incident has not faded, as the following video shows.
The seven-time mayor of the coastal city of Davao, Duterte has purportedly relied on so-called vigilante death squads to assassinate criminals. In 2009, Human Rights Watch, a human rights advocacy group, released a report calling for the dismantling of such vigilante gangs directly linked to government officials.
Duterte was also named in a separate report by Amnesty International for his use of such tactics.
As the 20-year mayor of Davao, Duterte is on record saying, "If you are doing an illegal activity in my city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the innocent people of the city, for as long as I am the mayor, you are a legitimate target of assassination."
The newly elected president has declared multiple times that he intends to dissolve congress and set up a revolutionary government to pave the way for federalism, restricting many powers to the federal government. He considers federalism the only way to fight crime and corruption.
"I have to stop criminality and corruption," Duterte declared. "I have to fix this government. I won't do it if you want to place me there with the solemn pledge to stick to the rules."